An Episcopal Dictionary of the Church

Wattson, Paul James Francis

(Jan. 16, 1863-Feb. 8, 1940). Founder of the Church Unity Octave, which was a precursor of the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity. He was born in Millington, Maryland, and baptized Lewis Thomas Wattson. He received his B.A. (1882) and his M.A. (1885) from St. Stephen's (Bard) College and his B.D. from the General Theological Seminary in 1887. He was ordained deacon on June 5, 1885, and priest on Dec. 12, 1886. He began his ordained ministry in Port Deposit, Maryland, and then became rector of St. John's Church, Kingston, New York. In 1894 he began publishing The Pulpit of the Cross, an Anglo-catholic parish bulletin. In 1895 he became the superior of an Episcopal mission in Omaha. In Dec. 1898 he and Lurana Mary White founded the Society of the Atonement, an order which was to work for the unity of the church. On July 27, 1900, he made his monastic profession before Bishop Leighton Coleman of Delaware and took the name Paul James Francis. In 1903 he began publishing The Lamp, which stressed the reunion of the Anglican Communion and the Church of Rome. Wattson founded the Church Unity Octave in 1909, an eight-day period of prayer for Christian unity. He began to doubt the validity of Anglican orders, and on Oct. 30, 1909, he, Mother Lurana, and fifteen others were received into the Roman Catholic Church. Wattson was ordained a Roman Catholic priest on July 16, 1910. He died in Garrison, New York. See Society of the Atonement; see Week of Prayer for Christian Unity; see White, Lurana Mary.

Glossary definitions provided courtesy of Church Publishing Incorporated, New York, NY,(All Rights reserved) from “An Episcopal Dictionary of the Church, A User Friendly Reference for Episcopalians,” Don S. Armentrout and Robert Boak Slocum, editors.